Climate Change (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Any climate change in general is caused by minor changes that create an imbalance in the entire climate system. Current climate change is caused by rising temperatures. But there may also be climate change due to abrupt drops in temperature, as happened in the past.
The external factors that influence the climate are called ‘climate forcings’ and they can alter the amount of energy that the system receives from the Sun or the energy that the Earth loses from emissions into outer space
There are 4 of these radiative forcings: the amount of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere, the terrestrial albedo, the concentration of greenhouse gases and the concentration of aerosols, both those coming from natural sources and those that come from human activities.
Paleoclimate scientists who study the climate and its changes in the past consider a wider range of climate forcings, including variations in the Earth’s orbital parameters, meteorite falls, thermohaline circulation, the El Niño phenomenon, mountain formation, tectonic plates, volcanism, long-term biological changes, evolution of land plants, etc.
At the same time, there are many known cases where CO2 has played an important role in the history of climate change because significant increases in the amount of CO2 led to the period of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction with a substantial warming of seawater that raised methane emission from the seabed and accelerated global warming to the limit, leading the Earth into the worst period it has experienced.
As for the human causes of climate change, it is known that the current change is anthropogenic and arises from the greenhouse effect by the emission of CO2 and methane gases.
Human influence on climate change began with deforestation to obtain arable land, although now most gas emissions come from factories, transportation systems, agricultural activities and household products. Be that as it may, the high demand for energy by developed countries is currently the main cause of global warming.